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Houstonian Corner (V9-I23)

May 31, 2007 by  


Qatari Government Thoughtful Gesture Of $20,000 For Muslim Community Of Houston

An Interview With His Excellency Qatar Consul General Rashid A. ALKhater

Question TMO: When did you join Diplomatic Core of Qatar?

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: I am a graduate of Minnesota University, with one of my majors being Political Science. I joined the Foreign Service of Qatar in 1985 and my first appointment was in Muscat. After that I have been to Mumbai, Germany, New York U.N.O., Embassy of Qatar in Washington D.C. and then Consulate of Houston in November 2004.

Question TMO: When did this Consulate of Houston start?

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: In September 1997.

Question TMO: What services does this Consulate provides?

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: We serve 16 States of USA – This Consulate provides services, which include providing information on investment opportunities in Qatar, details about the excellent tourism spots of Qatar, certification for import and export from and to Qatar, assist students from USA to get scholarships and study in Qatar. Our aim is to strengthen the ties between Qatar and USA and one way of doing it to properly liaison with the different Governments of the 16 States of USA and here in Houston, very close relationship with the Office of Honorable Mayor Bill White.

Question TMO: We have learnt that the Government of Qatar has always shown kind gestures worldwide?

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: Yes: We feel God has Blessed us and it is our duty to serve the needs of humanity. Like for instance, People of Qatar through our Embassy in Washington gave more than $100 Million for rehabilitation efforts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, after the Hurricanes of Katrina and Rita.

Question TMO: We have learnt that the Government of Qatar through your office has given a gift to the Muslim Community of Houston: Can you tell us about that?

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: Yes: We have given $20,000 to the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH). Of and on when I met with the President of ISGH Sheikh Rodwan Saleh, I used to ask, if we can be of any assistance. Recently Sheikh Rodwan asked for help in the outreach work in Houston, which is done by ISGH via their Main Center located along Eastside Street. As such we have given $20,000 for printing of Quran with English Translation, reprinting of brochure called “Islam for Americans” and some running expenses of the Main Center of ISGH.

[President of ISGH Sheikh Rodwan Saleh was present on the occasion and graciously thanked the Honorable Consul General on behalf of all Houstonian Muslims for this most kind gesture]…

Question TMO: Any final comments and messages.

Answer Consul General Rashid ALKhater: Yes – On behalf of the Government of Qatar, I would like welcome American Investors and Tourists to come to Qatar and feel our good business environment, most exotic locations and hospitality. Our office is here to assist you. We are located at 1990 Post Oak Boulevard – Building Number Three – Suite 810 – Houston – Texas 77056 – Phone: 713-355-8221 – Fax: 713-355-8240 – E-Mail: RALKhater@SBCGlobal.Net

State Of Qatar–A Profile

There are five countries in the Persian Gulf, namely Bahrain , Kuwait , Oman , the United Arab Emirates , and Qatar . With the second largest reserves of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) after Russia , Qatar is a most strategic country within the Persian Gulf.

Historical Perspective

Archeological discoveries, inscriptions and a collection of exquisite pottery which were found in scattered areas in the country have proven that the land of Qatar was populated as early as 4000 BC. After being a sovereign state since 1916, Qatar gained complete independence on September 3rd, 1971. In the distant history, under the Abbasid State during the 8th century AH (the 14th century AD), Qatar experienced great economic prosperity as can be gleaned from the inscriptions of (Murwab) Fort on the western coast of the peninsula, which bears the marks of the Abbasid architectural style.

Geography

Qatar is a peninsula located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Gulf. Its territory comprises a number of islands including Halul, Sheraouh , AL -Ashat and others. The total land area of Qatar is approximately 4,500 square miles. The population of Qatar amounts to 865,000 inhabitants compared to 525,000 inhabitants in the 1990s. 83% of inhabitants reside in the Capitol Doha and its main suburb AL-Rayyan. Other major cities are AL-Wakrah , AL -Khor, Dukhan , AL -Shamal, Mesaieed and Ras Lafan.

Flag

The White-&-Maroon Flag of Qatar was adopted on July 9th – 1971. The Meaning of Qatar’s Flag is: The White color reflects the internationally recognized symbol of peace – The Maroon color symbolizes the bloodshed during the several wars Qatar had undergone, particularly in the second half of the 19th century – The nine-point serrated line indicates that Qatar is the 9th member of the “Reconciled Emirates” of the Persian Gulf in the wake of concluding the Qatari-British treaty in 1916.

Government

Fifty-Five years old His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa AL-Thani is the Emir of the State of Qatar since June 27th – 1995, while twenty-seven years old His Highness Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad AL-Thani is “Heir Apparent”.

Forty-Eight years old His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr AL-Thani is the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, while fifty-five years old His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad AL-Attiyah is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry.
Government structure is based on 1970 provisional constitution with the Council of Ministers and Advisory Council. Islam is the official religion of the country and the Shariah (Islamic Law) is a main source of its legislations.

Language & Currency

Official Language of Qatar is Arabic, while English is widely spoken. Official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 dirhams. The Exchange parity has been set at the fixed rate of 1- US- $ = 3.65-QRs.

Education

Qatar follows a policy of compulsory and continuous education, where all citizens receive free schooling reflecting the country’s identity and providing equal opportunities to all. Basic education consists of the following stages: Elementary Stage: Six years / Preparatory Stage: Three years / Secondary Stage: Three years. Government schools provide free education for the children of non-Qatari residents, who work for the public sector. Qatar also has private schools as well as schools for the different Arab communities like the Lebanese, Jordanian and Sudanese schools plus those for non-Arab communities like the Indian, American and other schools. Statistics from 1997 show that illiteracy for Qataris for over 10 years old is 13.60% – 8.60% for males and 18.40% for females.

Weill Cornell Medical College ( Doha , Qatar ), is the first American medical school ever set up overseas. It is funded by the Qatar government through the Qatar Foundation, operated by Cornell and began its full Cornell M.D. degree program in September 2004. It also provides a preparatory two-year pre-medical program. Due to strong agriculture sector in Qatar , there is campus of Texas A&M University in Doha .

Economy

Main industry is Oil & Gas, with all of the top sister oil companies present in Qatar , namely ExxonMobil – The Royal Dutch Shell Anglo-Dutch – BP Amoco – Mobil – ChevronTexaco – The Gulf Oil – Marathon – & – The Texaco.
The Non-Oil Sector of Qatar includes Agriculture & Fishing, Manufacturing, Electricity & Water, Building & Construction, Trade, Restaurants and Hotels, Transport and Communications, Finance, Insurance & Real Estate.

Tourism

Qatar gives everyone opportunity to explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favorite sport: Golf courses, billiards and snookers tables, bowling alleys, tennis and squash facilities, ice skating rinks. Qatar grants tourist visas at border points for the nationals of more than 33 countries including USA , Canada , Iceland , West European countries, some East European countries, Japan , Singapore , Malaysia , Hong Kong , South Korea , Brunei , Australia and New Zealand , besides the nationals of the GCC countries. Visit visas for the residents of the GCC countries and their companions are issued at border points, while entry visas for businessmen coming from places other than the countries mentioned above need to be arranged beforehand. Visitors on tourist visas are required to use Qatar Airways to enter the country. The passport section at Doha international airport can issue renewable 14-day tourist visas in 24 hours for all visitors to Qatar with the exception of travel documents holders. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Interior’s website http://www.experienceqatar.com.

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